Special Report: The Next Speaker: Lawmakers Say It’s Dogara Vs Gbajabiamila
As the heated battle for the Speakership of the House of Representatives rages on, many Nigerians who are observing keenly keep asking: “what is going on and how will they decide?”
In order to give our loyal readers the inside details on the dynamics and political intrigue surrounding the choice of the next Speaker, ABUSIDIQU sent a correspondent into the National Assembly to speak directly with our legislators. The findings are presented in this report.
Our first source, a legislator from the North-West said: “The next Speaker will either be Gbajabiamila or Dogara. Gbaja has been in the House for a long time and has done well as Minority leader, but the godfatherism might be a problem for him. Dogara, on the other hand, has been here since 2007 and the more independent minded members seem to be in support of him.”
Another legislator, this time from the South-West, said: “You know, initially, there was one of us from Osun who signified interest…..but Asiwaju said no, that Gbaja has tried…..he said Gbaja stayed as Minority Leader even when he could have challenged Tambuwal and some other things, that he has really tried and deserves to be the Speaker now. Me, I think democracy should be about fairness so we’ll see how it goes in the House, but I can tell you that the South-West caucus is with Gbaja.”
Another legislator from the North-West said that although Gbajabiamila has had a long run as Minority Leader, having him as Speaker would “contravene the dictates of equity”; he elaborated on this by explaining that the President-Elect is from the North-West and his Vice from the South-West, therefore “having a Speaker from the South-West would automatically disenfranchise either the North-East or North-Central, and that would be very bad for our democracy. Everyone who worked for this victory should be represented in that top four.”
When asked about Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, who is also in the Speakership race and from his region, he said: “Jibrin should go and sit down (laughs). He’s only doing this to negotiate for one of the best committees. Who will vote for Abdulmumin? There’s more to being the Speaker than having money, don’t let media noise deceive you.”
A PDP legislator-elect from the South-East said: “What everyone seems to have forgotten is that we, the PDP, also have our own candidate. If the APC tries to impose anyone, we will choose our own Speaker. The PDP legislators can still deliver bloc votes, they should not forget that.”
An APC legislator from the North-Central introduced a new dimension to the equation when he said that ethnic minorities and Northern Christians should be given a sense of belonging in the APC government in order to fully dispel the Islamist agenda rumours. This, he said, was his reason for supporting Dogara, in addition to the experience he has and the passion for change which he has shown over time.
A legislator from the North-East was asked about the purported endorsement of Hon. Gbajabiamila by the North-East caucus. He said: “It is a big lie, we did not endorse him. In fact, we are with Dogara because as you already know, the North-East has been through a lot and despite everything, we spoke to our people and they still came out to vote for APC. Boko Haram was dropping fliers saying we should not vote and killing people to scare them away but our people still contributed the second highest number of votes for APC. Will it be fair to us if we are not then represented?”
In response to this, we asked about Senator Ahmed Lawan, who is from the North-East and aspiring to be Senate President. He said: “Lawan is not qualified enough to be the Senate President. You can’t just give us something, if anybody must represent us, then it should be someone who truly merits the position. And if you even give Senate Presidency to the North-East and the Speaker to South-West, what then happens to North-Central? As far as I’m concerned, Saraki is still the best for Senate President. Moreover, you know the North-East has a very high population of ethnic minorities and Northern Christians, won’t it be better to choose a representative who represents all of these?”
Other findings made include the fact that the next majority leader would be from the South-South.
Keep a date with us as we reveal more updates on the House of Representatives speakership tussle.